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In November of 2014 Paper Magazine teamed up with Kim Kardashian to attempt to break the internet. Now the magazine is back with Miley Cyrus for a shoot that features the 22-year-old singer wearing only body paint and mud. It broke my brain.

Last summer, when “Wrecking Ball” earned her a VMA for Video of the Year, Cyrus sent 22-year-old Jesse Helt — one of nearly 114,000 homeless men and women presently living in California — onstage to palm the statue. A year had passed since she’d tugged on a flesh-colored latex bikini and intimated digital intercourse with a foam finger while Robin Thicke, bedecked in Beetlejuice stripes, stood smirking behind his aviators. The 2014 performance was less jubilant, if significantly more heartfelt. Helt, reading from a small piece of paper, recounted his plight. When the camera cut to Cyrus in the audience, wearing a black leather ensemble and perched, precariously, on some kind of partition, her eyes were glinting, hot. “I felt like I was witnessing a modern-day ‘I Have a Dream,’ and it had nothing to do with me,” she says.
Happy Hippie is designed as a corrective to what Cyrus understands as immoral politicking, the sort that pits outliers as pariahs and favors an archaic status quo. The foundation treats at-risk kids with art and animal therapies, two proven balms that have been instrumental in Cyrus’ own self-care. Although she was raised Christian, Cyrus maintains a particular contempt for fundamentalist lawmakers who rally against this sort of progressive, potentially life-saving change. “Those people [shouldn’t] get to make our laws,” she says. Those people — the ones who believe that, say, Noah’s Ark was a real seafaring vessel. “That’s fucking insane,” she says. “We’ve outgrown that fairy tale, like we’ve outgrown fucking Santa and the tooth fairy.”
Eventually, she says, the problem of homelessness became impossible for her to ignore. “I can’t drive by in my fucking Porsche and not fucking do something,” she says. “I see it all day: people in their Bentleys and their Rolls and their Ubers, driving past these vets who have fought for our country, or these young women who have been raped.” She pauses. “I was doing a show two nights ago, and I was wearing butterfly nipple pasties and butterfly wings. I’m standing there with my tits out, dressed like a butterfly. How the fuck is that fair? How am I so lucky?”

Cyrus grew up outside of Nashville with her brothers and sisters on a 500-acre farm.

She says she has come to consider her own sexuality — even her own gender identification — fluid. “I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that’s legal, I’m down with. Yo, I’m down with any adult — anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me,” she says. “I don’t relate to being boy or girl, and I don’t have to have my partner relate to boy or girl.” She says she’s had romantic entanglements with women that were just as serious as the ones (Liam Hemsworth, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Nick Jonas) that ended up in Us Weekly. “I’ve had that,” she admits. “But people never really looked at it, and I never brought it into the spotlight.”
She recalls confessing to her mother, at age 14, that she had romantic feelings toward women. “I remember telling her I admire women in a different way. And she asked me what that meant. And I said, I love them. I love them like I love boys,” she says. “And it was so hard for her to understand. She didn’t want me to be judged and she didn’t want me to go to hell. But she believes in me more than she believes in any god. I just asked for her to accept me. And she has.” These days, Cyrus only wants to grant others the same clemency.

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I feel bad for the pig…
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